Creative Writing – “Thinking of Mother” written by Karen Robinson

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2 of 2 Creative Writing by Karen Robinson Titled 'Thinking of Mother' NB All images are protected by copyright laws

2 of 2 Creative Writing by Karen Robinson Titled ‘Thinking of Mother’.  This is a photo of my mother when she was a very young woman and the baby is me – Karen Robinson.  NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Whilst my creative writing group has been disbanded for now, I am still keeping up with my creative writing efforts – my creative writing facilitator would be pleased!  Upon thinking about what mother’s day is all about, about how I am as a mother myself and about how my mother was as a mother for me, I wrote this creative writing piece title “Thinking Of Mother”.

 

MY CREATIVE WRITING PIECE

 

Title:  “Thinking Of Mother”

It’s hard to think about my mother in a totally positive way, when on Mothers’ Day this is exactly what a child is meant to do!  My sister, brother and I grew up in a sadly dysfunctional family.  But for the purposes of thinking about the fact that it is mothers’ day, I really want to just consider some of the best of my mother, and it will be hard to do this without looking at some of the worst of my childhood life.

Mother was born in a rural country town NSW Australia, one of three girls.  My understanding of my mother’s life is regretfully poorly formulated.  We were estranged for many years during my adult life; during a time when I had started my own family and became a mother myself.  We only got to reunite for a 6-month period before she died of cancer on March 2, 1998. It was a dreadfully sad and painful time, with much left unsaid; and a parting of ways through her death that left many of my childhood questions unanswered.

During my mother’s childhood, I believe my mother was raised by nuns, as her own mother died when she was a very small child and her father was a soldier in World War II.  This meant there was no one willing and/or able to care for my mother and her two older sisters, hence being raised by nuns.  This upbringing left wounds that never seemed to heal and I remember my mother saying to me on different occasions during my childhood, that at times the nuns were cruel, that she had never learned how to be a mother, that she had to teach herself.  On reflection, this seemed to be some sort of excuse my mother would utter, when she felt she had got the act of mothering all wrong.  In her defense, I always remember her as being a very hard worker and she ended up being the main ‘bread winner’ for our family for most of our childhood.  Our father, the man she married and stayed married to for all of our childhood lives, and literally for ‘better or worse’ was a man who was deeply troubled.  He developed into an alcoholic, very early in their marriage and became a brutal man to both my mother and to each of us as children, with my brother experiencing the worst of what he had to offer.  I remember many times being terrified during my father’s drunken outbursts and furious rage.

But back to the memory of my mother, she was a beautiful, attractive woman and I remember her mostly – as a kind person.  During my very early childhood, mum would make our clothes and I remember wearing very pretty dresses on special occasions with pride, she was very creative and most resourceful.  On one occasion, I remember she had made my sister and I a new dress each out of the old curtains that had once hang from the lounge room window.  I also remember her being a very good cook, although I don’t believe she started off being able to cook, this skill was developed out of necessity and it ended up being one of her professions during her later working years.  Life was not easy for my mother for sure, as it was a time in history, during the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s when family domestic violence was considered a family matter, and a wife in those days, was required to ‘put up and shut up’ about any such matters.  A time, when if a woman went to the police seeking protection from their brutal husband, they would be turned away being told that it was a family matter and go and sort it out with your husband – the very person serving out the domestic violence.  It was also a time where there was little to no support for a woman with small children and particularly if they decided to leave their husband.  My mother did leave my father on one occasion.  She packed up the little Volkswagen car one afternoon with as much worldly possessions as she could, along with us three small children and off we went.  On that particular night, I remember as a small child and the eldest of the three of us – we stopped and stayed in a rental caravan which leaked as it rained on that night. For dinner we had bread and jam and I remember thinking at the time that things must be really bad if that’s all we got for tea.  Mum was sad and desperate and brave. As I said before, it was a time in history when it was a very socially unacceptable thing to do – leave your husband, it was considered almost shameful, no matter what was happening in the home.

As time went on during this part of our lives, it became too difficult for my mother on her own rearing us three small children, trying to put a roof over our heads, cloths on our backs, food in our bellies, send us to school, keep us healthy and paid all the bills.   And then the breaking point came, I remember, my mother read out a letter from my father to me, perhaps not the whole letter, I cannot remember, but a letter that begged us to all return with many promises to change his ways and so it was – we set back to my father after he had tracked her down and persuaded my mother to return.  Sadly – this was a dreadful mistake, but I try to remind myself, that she was a woman on her own, with three small children, no family support, no government support, low wages – it must have been very hard for her; it was for us three small children as I remember it.  Perhaps, if it was in today’s time, where women can gain some sort of support, things may have hopefully been different, she could have made better choices for herself, for her children.  This I have told myself throughout my adulthood life, so as to help me understand why my mother went back knowing that he, my father was an alcoholic brutal man.

So when thinking of mother on Mothers’ day, I can’t help thinking about what it means to be a mother.  It’s a hard job, and there is plenty of room for mistakes – poor judgements but there is also an opportunity to take these things learned and try to make good with the next generation of children; to hopefully be a better mother than one’s own.  To raise children that will love and remember us as mothers in a kindly way, to remember the best of us….

 

© Karen Robinson, May 2016

1 of 2 Creative Writing by Karen Robinson Titled 'Thinking of Mother' NB All images are protected by copyright laws

1 of 2 Creative Writing by Karen Robinson Titled ‘Thinking of Mother’.  This was my mother in her forties I believe.  A photo taken when she was on a holiday overseas and after separating from her husband, my father.  She looks happy in this photo. NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

CONCLUSION

This Mothers’ Day for me, was spent with my dear sweet daughter, my husband, my daughter’s husband and his parents and his brother.  We had a lovely lunch and time together.  My daughter gave me a Mothers’ Day card with words she had particularly written herself and was keen to make sure I knew that as she knows that words are important to me.  This is what she wrote:

Thanks for everything you are…

Thanks for everything you do…

Thanks for always being there…

Love always and forever…

Thank you beautiful daughter for your loving words!  It was also a little difficult on this day and any given Mothers’ Day since 2009 – because my son, my daughter’s brother – is not with us anymore, so Mothers’ Day can be happy and sad, both at the same time.

 

Written by © Karen Robinson, May 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  Post-traumatic Growth – My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Creative Writing – “When A Good Laugh Is Important!” written by Karen Robinson

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Karen Robinson at Creative Writing Therapy with Mind Australia - Northcote Town Hall October 2015 NB: All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

Karen Robinson at Creative Writing Therapy with Mind Australia – Northcote Town Hall October 2015 NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!. JPG

 

INTRODUCTION

Our creative writing sessions have now come to an end.  This week we said our farewells to each other with the hope that in the future sometime, we may catch-up informally to talk about what’s been happening in our lives.  It’s somewhat sad but a necessary important part of our creative writing therapy.  Now is the time we take what we have learned about ourselves through our creative writing efforts, and put this new knowledge to good use.  Whether it be the practice of continued creative writing efforts and/or embarking on another kind of creative therapy, we know we are now in a better place than when we first started, and now better skilled to deal with what’s ahead.

 

WHEN A GOOD LAUGH IS IMPORTANT!

It was important during our very last creative writing session that we attempt to engage in a sense of cheeriness.  Our creative writing facilitator had us write a piece that was to be about something that was our favourite thing about ourselves.  We had 10 minutes to write the piece and at the end of that 10 minutes we were then invited to share what we had written – if we wished.  What I love about these kind of creative writing exercises is this, you never know what is going to pop into your head and be translated into the written word.  I am also amazed and intrigued by what others write and share as well, how their stories vary and how imaginative they can be.  Sometimes, the group’s stories can be sad, sometimes our stories can be revealing and insightful, and at other times they can have us laughing unexpectedly – which is always welcomed!

I wrote a creative writing piece on this last day that did just that, had everyone laughing with delight and I must admit it gave me a great sense of pleasure knowing that I was able to achieve this, on this our very last day of creative writing with this extraordinary group of people.  Below is my creative writing piece that was based around the creative writing facilitator’s request “about something that was a favourite thing about ourselves” and I hope you find it humorous as well – remembering that a good laugh about one’s self can be important!  It is titled ‘Favourite Thing About Self’.

 

No. 1 – MY CREATIVE WRITING PIECE

 

No. 2 of 3 Art Therapy Session One - July 2015 'Self Portrait' by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.JPG

No. 2 of 3 Art Therapy Session One – July 2015 ‘Self Portrait’ by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.  It was created by outlining the silhouette on my face and then using pastel and charcoal to create this image on paper.  It was done during the art therapy session itself. JPG



Title:  "Favourite Thing About Self"
  

My grey hair colour is perhaps my most favourite ‘self’ thing!

It’s the only thing that’s gotten better

as I have gotten older.




The nice perky boobs have diminished

and given way

to the over-ripe melons

that sag and sag.




My once-lovely flat belly

is now a memory overwritten

by a lumpy, bumpy hill

that does not flatten out when I lay down.

It just sits there reminding me

of my middle-aged spread.




My once-muscular legs

that used to attract all sorts of admiration

from both males and females,

a noticeable gift from my mother’s DNA,

are now always hidden away, under long pants, in shame.




My skin that used to be aglow

with good health

and good looks

has slipped away

secretly, quietly

– never to be found again.




And so it goes,

as it must --

all that was favourite

has been taken by that thief,

old age,

and I am now left with one thing in exchange for my youth --

my grey hair,

a favourite ‘self’ thing!




Oops, I forgot.

I do like my brain.

It’s been working, not better

but differently,

and I can see that it is going to help me

in my ripe, old age.




Good bye, good looks

and thank you, brain.




Prose Poem © Karen Robinson, April 2016

 

 

WHAT ADVICE I WOULD GIVE SOMEONE IN A SITUATION LIKE MYSELF

Before we were to finished up this particular session, our creative writing facilitator asked us to write one more creative writing piece.  This piece was to be about “what advice we would give someone in a situation like ourselves”.  In contrast to my writing piece above, this was a serious and thoughtful piece.

 

No. 2 – MY CREATIVE WRITING PIECE

 


Advice I would give someone in a situation like mine…

Keep looking forward 
when looking back is too hard to bear 
and look back 
when you are stronger.
 
Whilst the pain will still be there, 
it will have hopefully morphed 
into a bearable medium to work with
as time marches on and on.

Take a moment in each day
to look for something
that will bring you
 some kind of joy,
 
whether it be joy 
for just a moment
or joy
for a greater period of time.
 
In time, you will begin 
to reward yourself 
by looking for more and more 
joy in the everyday.

And after some considerable time
some of your days will be full of joy, 
and the sadness
will only come
when you invite it in.

Prose Poem © Karen Robinson - April 2016

 

 

CONCLUSION

Thank you to Judy Bird our creative writing facilitator, Gillian Scaduto our Mind Australia co-facilitator and our wonderful group members – I will never forget our time shared…

 

Art Therapy Session No. 2-'Silhouette Portrait' by Karen Robinson Materials-acrylic paint on butcher paper August 7, 2014 photograph taken by Karen Robinson Images Copyright .JPG

Art Therapy Session No. 2-‘Silhouette Portrait’ by Karen Robinson Materials-acrylic paint on butcher paper August 7, 2014 photograph taken by Karen Robinson Images Copyright .JPG

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Written by © Karen Robinson, April 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  Post-traumatic Growth – My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Creative Writing – “My Love/Hate Relationship – A Human Condition!” written by Karen Robinson

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3 of 4 - Creative Writing Story Titled 'My Love-Hate Relationship - A Human Condition!' written by Karen Robinson March 2016 NB Protected by Copyright Laws

3 of 4 – Creative Writing Story Titled ‘My Love-Hate Relationship – A Human Condition!’ written by Karen Robinson March 2016. Image of my computer keyboard with a show of chocolate Easter Eggs Photo graphed by me – NB Protected by Copyright Laws

 

INTRODUCTION

At my last creative writing session, our facilitator set us up with tasks to achieve at home, during the Easter break and up until our next creative writing group session.  We were to write each day, a 5 to 10 minute writing piece about anything. I was pleasantly surprised and rewarded for my efforts; it was a revealing and enjoyable experience and one that proved to be very therapeutic.

 

MY CREATIVE WRITING PIECE

This particular creative writing piece below was inspired by my experience with getting my computer up and running again after crashing a number of times and not being able to successfully fix it myself.  It turned into a rant and it felt so good to get all my frustration and words of pent-up anger out into a written piece.  I actually really enjoyed the process and here is what I wrote

 

Title:  “My Love/Hate Relationship – A Human Condition!”

Part One:

If my computer was a person, I would have killed it by now – and had no regrets.  The amount of time and energy, I have expended on it, to fix several problems over the last few weeks, has been ridiculous.  Hate comes to mind as well – right at this moment, I hate my computer with a passion!  So when it decides to have a mind of its own, I tell it and tell it, that I will love and respect it, and I am grateful for all the times it has been faithfully assisting me in achieving my goals.  I constantly give it credit for doing a marvellous job, but at times, this flattery, does not seem to persuade him to realize, that when it decides to go off the rails, it just causes me all sorts of grief.  This love/hate relationship can’t be good for me for sure!  But I keep persisting, in the hope, that if I can pretend to be kind and thoughtful that perhaps, just perhaps – he will be cooperative and just work without a problem.  Perhaps chocolates are the answer, I’m desperate – hey computer what about chocolate, do you like chocolate? I think I have gone mad!!!

 

1 of 4 - Creative Writing Story Titled 'My Love-Hate Relationship - A Human Condition!' written by Karen Robinson March 2016 NB Protected by Copyright Laws

1 of 4 – Creative Writing Story Titled ‘My Love-Hate Relationship – A Human Condition!’ written by Karen Robinson March 2016 NB Protected by Copyright Laws

 

Part Two:

The chocolates didn’t work!  My computer is still not working to its best capacity – actually what I really want to say, is that its performance is shit, and I am sick of it, at the very least!  My love/hate relationship with it is stronger than ever and much more hate than love.  I proceeded to contact the Microsoft Technical fairies on Remote Assist for the fourth time and praying that if they wave their magic wand again, that all would be good once more, but alas – I discovered that this was not going to be the case and my computer still remained defiant.  It’s on the blink again!

Like I wrote before, if my computer was a person I am sure I would have killed it by now, no jokes that is how frustrated I am with him and yes, it has to be a him!  Or should I write hymn, a prayer would do nicely right now, perhaps that could influence my computer to get back to working like a responsible, good computer.  It has tested my patients to no end and I find myself sitting here observing the actions of the Microsoft Technical fairy, skilfully working his magic to rectify what seems to be an unfathomable problem.  There has been a number of Windows 10 operating systems installs and re-installs, along with a number of Windows Office 365 installs and re-installs; and my communications with the Microsoft Technical fairies via my mobile phone and via Remote Assist on the computer – has been very cordial which I have appreciated.  I myself have been very restrained, trying desperately to be extra, extra nice in the hope that my attitude towards the Microsoft Technical fairies will result in a perfectly behaved computer but no, no such luck – time to tear my out my hair or go hung myself, or slit my writs…no all too dramatic I know and extra silly – back to chocolates then perhaps?

 

Part Three:

While I am waiting, waiting for the Microsoft Technical fairies to wave their magic wand and fix my computer, I am forced to write this writing piece, this arduous rant with a pen and paper. I mean a pen and paper, how antiquated is that – just unforgivable computer!  So hopefully when this time draining fiasco is over, I will be back to my old self enjoying my computer privileges.  But the first thing I am going to do when all is working well with him, him being the computer, I think I will just resort to shutting down my computer – yes shutting it down!  I will be plainly ignoring it for a while, as a form of punishment for all the stress it has made me endure.  I know, I know – there are much more important things in the world to be moaning about, to be appreciative of – please forgive this rant. Back to chocolates, it’s Easter…yum chocolate Easter eggs!

 

4 of 4 - Creative Writing Story Titled 'My Love-Hate Relationship - A Human Condition!' written by Karen Robinson March 2016 NB Protected by Copyright Laws

4 of 4 – Creative Writing Story Titled ‘My Love-Hate Relationship – A Human Condition!’ written by Karen Robinson March 2016 NB Protected by Copyright Laws

 

Part Four:

My computer is now working beautifully and all is, as it should be.   And yes, I love my computer once again – well until the next time it decides to be a pain in the ass!

The End!

© Karen Robinson, March 2016

 

CONCLUSION

Writing and sharing our stories within these creative writing sessions – gives us all an opportunity to reveal to ourselves and to others – if we wish, matters that may be unresolved, things we seek to bring into our lives and/or just the pure joy of being able to articulate words without judgement.  And perhaps just for our own personal need to say out loud in a safe and secure environment amongst like-minded people.

For me, this particular writing piece was all about releasing pent-up frustration and dismay.  The creative writing task gave me a way of dispensing of that energy, that frustration in a positive manner rather than taking it out on the Microsoft Technical fairies, or my dear husband, or my poor old dog called Jessie.  By the end of the above writing piece, I was all good to go – no more angst about my computer … creative writing as therapy at its best I feel.

Written by © Karen Robinson, March 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Creative Writing Group Session 1 of 6 – “The Happy Box!”

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INTRODUCTION

My art therapy journey has been mostly a solo experience up until recently, meaning without any outside influences or company. It has been a very personal endeavour and one that, at first, was just for me. Over recent years though, I began to share some of my work through group exhibitions which has been enlightening and revealing.  It was through these exhibitions that I learned about the power of art as a form of self-expression; a way to empower a person with a visual voice, when words are hard to find.

No. 9 Creative Writing & Abstract Painting 'The Happy Box!' Acrylic Paint on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Oct 2014 NB All images are subject to copyright law.JPG

No. 9 Creative Writing & Abstract Painting ‘The Happy Box!’ Acrylic Paint on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Oct 2014 NB All images are subject to copyright law.JPG

Throughout my abstract painting portfolio, I have dedicated an effort to verbalizing my art works’ sources of inspiration, meaning and sometimes its purpose.  Each painting has its own painting story, as I have called it, and whilst the details are of a factual nature, the process feels very much like creative writing. The creation of painting stories to accompany each painting has become, for me, an important part of the therapeutic process which has, over time, lead to a greater sense of wellbeing.

CREATIVE WRITING GROUP

Just recently,  I was fortunately asked, if I would like to join a ‘Creative Writing‘ group.  The small group is especially for those who are carers for another in their lives.  The sessions are designed to offer individuals a way to express themselves through ‘creative writing’ in a safe, secure and supportive environment.  It also gives participants an opportunity to meet new people whom they learn to share thoughts, emotions and life experiences within an imaginative and creative environment.

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog series “Creative Writing Group”, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that runs the sessions.  Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will only be about my own experience – and broad statements about each particular session.  I hope you will understand.

No. 10 Creative Writing & Abstract Painting 'The Happy Box!' Acrylic Paint on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Oct 2014 NB All images are subject to copyright laws.JPG

No. 10 Creative Writing & Abstract Painting ‘The Happy Box!’ Acrylic Paint on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Oct 2014 NB All images are subject to copyright laws.JPG

CREATIVE WRITING PROCESS

In our group there are between five to eight participants, one creative writing specialist and one co-facilitator.  At this very first session it was really about getting to know each other, gaining a sense of being comfortable in sharing basic facts amongst the group, in this new space.  We then embarked on several creative writing exercises where we were asked to write about (1) The View; then about (2) Where am I right now!; and lastly (3) What am I an expert in?  After each piece was written, we shared our writings with each other.  It was very interesting to share and hear each others creative writing endeavours and was a wonderful way to get to know each other in a manner that was quite personally informative.

MY CREATING WRITING PIECE TITLED “THE HAPPY BOX!”

We were given homework to do which was to write another piece on ‘What I am an expert in?’ and this is the writing piece I would like to share here below.  I gave it the title of ‘The Happy Box!’:

Title: The Happy Box!

When it comes to thinking about what “I am an expert in” and taking into account my age, being the length of time I have had, to create expertise – I am left to ponder. The word expert, for me, has a limiting effect. Once you become labelled as an expert, there is a notion that you have reached the end of that ability to grow further more; that you therefore know, all there is to know, about that particular field of knowledge.

Thinking again, about what “I am an expert in” I would have to say there have been many things that I have become an expert at, over my life; and once I reached that state of being an expert, I moved onto the next thing I could become an expert at. Over what now seems to have been a long life, I have always challenged myself to be the best; to be expert in tasks that require great dedication and drive, and an inclusiveness of a sort of madness to continue, despite hurdles to overcome.

My greatest life-long challenge has been, to become an expert at being a fully functional human being. Inherited childhood learning’s and deficiencies, became adult puzzles to work on throughout my whole life. I would mould myself into a better me at times and at other times fail at this task miserably. I have learned to treasure the smallest of delights and recall them in my melancholy moments; to use them to uplift my spirits, when day-to-day life had failed to do so.

To help me gain this sense of expertise in being a fully functional human being, I just recently developed a system for myself. I call it the ‘happy box’! I ask myself each day, is what I am going to be doing this day, going to tick the ‘happy box’ and if the answer is yes, then it is included and if the answer is no, I take the time out to ask why and should I be doing it at all, if it is not going to tick the ‘happy box’.

I find myself now working towards being an expert at living the balance of my life in such a way that I look for joy in everyday. My ‘happy box’ thought process, has been helping me work towards this quest. I look to become the expert I have been striving for, all my life. It is a deeply personal endeavour and it is going to be very satisfying … it will tick the happy box!”

Written on 28th October 2014 by Karen Robinson – ‘Copyright’ Protected

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!

After immersing myself in my creative writing homework task; and after reading it to the creative writing group in session 2, I decided to go home that day and do a small work of art based on my creative writing piece ‘The Happy Box!’ to accompany this weblog.  The ‘Matisse Acrylic Structure Paint‘ colours I chose to use are bright and bold being (1) Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red and Red Oxide, along with two other colours I had mixed previously – a reddish colour and black/smokey colour.  I used a flat, oval spatula to smear the paint around the paper and then used a thin paint brush to add the box and tick. I found myself really enjoying the process of producing the art work and photographing it accordingly.  Even the act of photo-taking of it was a therapeutic process!  Art therapy at its best I feel…

CONCLUSION

For me, the act of creative writing and accompanying it with the process of creating an art work to reflect the creative writing piece – definitely ticked the happy box…

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson